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This month at Be My Eyes
April 2018

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Welcome back! We’re glad to have you here for the next Be My Eyes newsletter. There’s some good stuff in store for you including a story from Krissy, word from the Be My Eyes community, exciting nomination announcements and a podcast you can listen in on. Happy reading!

Featured story of the month

Krissy’s Story: A Human Resource

YouTube video - Krissy's story | A Human Resource

Krissy is 34 years old and lives in Manila, Philippines. She works as a freelance Human Resource consultant. Blind since her teens, different assistive technology is a big part of her daily life. When Krissy first started using Be My Eyes, it was sporadic and only for small things. It wasn’t until she moved to Newcastle, Australia for a Masters degree in Human Resource Management, that she began using the app more habitually. Moving to a foreign country is a big adjustment for anyone, but Krissy was also living on her own. Her huge step in independence also meant different demands on assistive devices, without friends or family close by, so Krissy took the plunge and Be My Eyes became her go-to tool.

For Krissy, Be My Eyes was especially useful on laundry day. The laundry room in Krissy’s building required that she swiped her student ID to access the washing machines. But once she swiped it through, the reader would flash a message she wasn’t able to read. Krissy strategized to try out different visual assistance apps to solve the problem but none proved to be helpful. When she popped open Be My Eyes, she teamed up with a volunteer to decipher the message and find the right buttons to press. Laundry day was a lot less complicated after that.

Be My Eyes also came in handy while Krissy familiarized herself in new places, as someone active who prefers being out and about. A lot of blind people use ‘markers’ to navigate in different surroundings. The pathway from Krissy’s building led to a pole, Krissy’s marker, that she used as a point of reference whenever she’d leave home. The pathway to the pole had twists and turns that initially posed a bit of challenge for Krissy, so she began using Be My Eyes which helped her memorize her home’s angle to her marker and find it easily.

After graduating, Krissy returned to the Philippines ready to start her career. Her independence surged in Australia, but being back in familiar surroundings didn’t lessen her use of Be My Eyes, because the app solidified itself as a tool that was there if she ever needed it. She explains,

“It really helps me troubleshoot things around me, troubleshoot issues at home by myself. So, it’s really impacting my independence greatly. I will not stop using Be My Eyes, because it’s part of me, it’s part of my independence.”

Krissy at her graduation, wearing the graduation rope and hat. She’s shaking hands with the University Chancellor, who’s holding up her diploma.

Krissy at her graduation, wearing the graduation rope and hat. She’s shaking hands with the University Chancellor, who’s holding up her diploma.

Part of Krissy’s scholarship for her studies down under, required that Krissy completes a research project called a “Re-entry Action Plan”. It entails choosing a community or sector that she wants to help improve. Krissy decided to develop an assessment tool for people with disabilities who are living independently. The idea is to increase the number of people with disabilities who are studying abroad by evaluating what skills are crucial to living on one’s own and determining what kind of support a study abroad program should be equipped with for people with disabilities. Krissy says the tool is still in its testing phase but already giving positive results. So far, it’s able to show how all respondents vary in their needs and that these needs ought to be met with a certain kind of support.

Krissy sits outside at a gathering, smiling, with trees and parasols in the background. Her long brown hair is curled and she wears a sheer cream-colored blouse, a pearl necklace and pink lipstick.

Krissy sits outside at a gathering, smiling, with trees and parasols in the background. Her long brown hair is curled and she wears a sheer cream-colored blouse, a pearl necklace and pink lipstick.

To Krissy, the human connection is what makes Be My Eyes special and sets it apart from other apps. She believes that the human intelligence beats out artificial intelligence on many levels, but talking to an actual person makes it an enjoyable experience all the more. “It feels like I’m with friends or family members, because [the volunteers] are human beings“, she says. Autonomy is important to Krissy, and that’s exactly why she points to Be My Eyes as a great option for other blind and low vision folks that want a bridge to a community of support, a human resource, without compromising their independence.

Krissy’s story is part of our Community Stories series. People all over the world use Be My Eyes in their everyday lives. Many of them write us about their experience with the app and folks they connect with. This feature lets us spread good vibes throughout the whole community. If you’d like to tell us about your experience or give a testimonial, send us an email at mystory@bemyeyes.com.

News & Updates

Google Play Awards logo. Be My Eyes was recently selected as a nominee for the annual Google Play Awards in the category of Best Accessibility Experience.

Did You Catch the 2018 Google Play Award Nominations?

Be My Eyes was recently selected as a nominee for the annual Google Play Awards in the category of Best Accessibility Experience. The Google Play Awards celebrate achievements of the developer community over the past year, by recognizing the best apps and games across nine categories. Nominees were selected by a panel of experts throughout Google Play and platform teams, based on a criteria set emphasizing app quality, technical performance, innovation, and having a launch or major update in the last 12 months. Winners will be announced during the ceremony on Monday, May 7th at 7:30pm (Pacific Time)

YouTube video - Blind Abilities Podcast: Interview with Be My Eyes Hans Wiberg and Community Directer Alexander Jensen

Be My Eyes on Blind Abilities

Be My Eyes founder, Hans Jørgen, and Community Director, Alexander, were recently featured in the podcast Blind Abilities. In this episode they discuss the two latest features of Be My Eyes; Specialized Help and Community Stories.

The Be My Eyes Community

70,481
Blind

967,854
Volunteers

Community Stories

Have you had the chance to check out the Community Stories yet? If not, you should! You can find first hand stories from both blind and low vision users and volunteers telling about their experiences with Be My Eyes. We release new stories regularly, so make sure to check back. Do you want your story to be featured? Send us an email at mystory@bemyeyes.com where you tell us a little about yourself and some of the experiences you’ve had with Be My Eyes.

Selected quotes from this month

“Helping through Be My Eyes never fails to make my day a little better. Knowing that I contributed in someone else’s daily life in a positive way brings me great joy.” – Faye, volunteer from Saudi Arabia

“Be My Eyes has changed my life in a way that I know that if I need help, I will get it - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and I am so grateful for that.” – Fernando, blind user from Chile

End Note

Thanks for taking a moment to join us for our the April edition of our newsletter. It’s a pleasure to get to share the stories and amplify the voices of the Be My Eyes community. We hope you’ve enjoyed them and don’t forget that yours can be a part of it, too. That’s it for now, see you in May!

Until next time,
The Be My Eyes Team

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This month issue is carefully curated by Julia Rignot, Cecilie Skou Andersen. You can find previous editions in our Newsletter Archive.
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